Social Media and the Sensation of Missing Out

Social media is both a blessing and curse as we all know and have experienced. One curse is that it facilitates the sensation of missing out.

For example, have you ever gotten onto Instagram to see pictures from all your friends who are at the same event together? But you didn’t go. Your immediate response of dismay, envy, and justification for why you didn’t go or why you weren’t invited is how you manage that sensation of missing out. Or have you ever gotten on Twitter and discovered an unreal conversation that went on for swipe after swipe of your forefinger? Did you not feel those twinges of dismay and envy again? Did you feel a tractor-force beam pull to exhaust fifteen to thirty catching up on the conversation and then add a triumphal tweet of your own? This sensation of missing out is a beast to tame. It will own you until you own it. Here’s two things to remember about your sensation of missing out.

1. You’ve Alway Been Missing Out

There is only one infinite, present-everywhere being who is able to process all the information in the world. That person is not you. You are limited, finite, and can only occupy one space at a time. You can’t be everywhere doing everything. You can’t be in every conversation. You can be in one conversation at a time, one event at a time, and in one family at a time.

This is nothing new. This was the case before social media. It is the case now. And it will be the case again in the post-social media world. Yes. There will be a coming blissful world without social media. Or at least I dearly hope so. I vote for a hashtag free heaven.

Embrace your finitude; accept your limits. That guy who says, “No limits!” Whose he kidding? You’ve always missed out, and you’re going to miss out. The sooner you embrace this, the sooner you can get past it.

2. You’ve Never Missed Out

Sure, it seems like a complete contradiction, but really it’s more of a paradox. The moment you realize that the moment you lived, rather than the moment you lament not living, is truly the best moment, the right moment, and the ordained moment for your life, then the better off you will be. You will gain greater satisfaction from contentment, then you ever will from discontentment.

Anytime I get the missin’ out twinge, I reflect on what I actually did and celebrate it. Just the other day, I felt this sensation. But then I thought about all the fun I had with my wife and kids that social media free day. I rejoiced that I had been liberated by its allure.

The Deception of Omnipresence

One of the dangers — one we need to explore and remind ourselves about — is that social media deceptively gives us the sensation that we are no longer spatially controlled. Through social media we have unbound ourselves from space; we have procured false transcendence. I can talk to friends anywhere and everywhere. My experiences are not confined to my locale.

How awful! Both in the sense of complete awe and despair. God for whatever reason permitted the internet when he did not permit Babel. There must be a higher purpose which brings greater glory to Him for this to be.

View-Worthy: 9.30.14

Preview

Media Missteps, What Children Should Know About God, Electing Elders, Love the Foreigner.

Headliner

Marvin Olasky. Where is Jesus Buried? And Other Media Missteps. (WORLD)

The New York Times is known as a solemn production that does not print comics, so we have to rely on its missteps to create some groaning-out-loud moments. One from earlier this month described “the vast Church of the Holy Sepulcher marking the site where many Christians believe that Jesus is buried.”

The Times later changed its online version to “was,” and we can mark its error as that of an ignorant reporter rather than a biased one. But many studies from the Media Research Center and others have spotlighted media bias, and few journalists do what Charlo Greene of Anchorage, Alaska’s KTVA-TV recently did on-air.

Deal of the Day

Conviction to Lead, The: 25 Principles for Leadership That Matters by Albert Mohler $3.03

Book Review

Peter Enns. The Bible Tells Me So. Reviewed by Andrew Wilson. (CT)

Links

Jen Thorn. 5 Things I Want My Kids To Know About God.

When I became a parent there were all kinds of things that I wanted to teach my kids: to work hard, enjoy reading, and love each other… to make family recipes and work on DIY projects together.

But above all, I want to teach them the knowledge of God. I want my kids to know him — the one who made them and cares for them.  We should have a passionate desire to see our kids fall in love with the one true God.  But in order for this to happen, we must teach them.

Here are just five truths (of many!) that I want my kids to know about their God…

David Murray. Electing Elders Is An Evangelistic Act.

I and my fellow elders at Grand Rapids Free Reformed Church have been focusing on elder training over the past couple of months. Part of that involved preaching on 1 Timothy 3v1-7, a sermon that ended up with 10 points (not usually recommended!)…

Chris Martin. Love the Foreigner Because You Are One.

Diversity is difficult, isn’t it? “The presence of differences” is essentially the definitionof diversity.

In social settings, differences often create obstacles to overcome, and similarities provide foundations to build upon.

I mean think about it, when you were in elementary school, you probably found friends that were like you in some way. They the same music, the same sports, the same hobbies, or other things.

Have you ever been attracted to someone because of differences?

Edify

“Honour ought to seek thee, not thou seek it.” Augustine

Proverbs 3:35 “The wise will inherit honor, but fools get disgrace.”

Richard Bauckham on the Beloved Disciples Witness in God’s Lawsuit

Jesus and the EyewitnessesIf found this passage fascinating. This is from Richard Bauckham’s, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony. Here Bauckham interacts with Andrew Lincoln’s work from Truth on Trial: The Lawsuit Motif in the Fourth Gospel.

There can be no doubt that Lincoln is right to stress the metaphorical complex of the lawsuit as a theme that runs through the Gospel and accounts for the prominence of the idea of witness in the Gospel. The Beloved Disciple’s witness must be connected with this broader motif. Lincoln is also right to see the prophecies of deutero-Isaiah as the most important source of this motif, though it is, of course, also important that the Gospel’s story of a cosmic lawsuit includes the literal events of judicial proceedings against Jesus by the Jewish authorities, acting in the name of the “law” of Moses, and by Pilate. In deutero-Isaiah of YHWH brings a case against the gods of the nations and their supporters in order to determine the identity of the true God. He calls on the worshipers of the other gods to demonstrate their reality of supremacy, while he himself calls as witnesses his people Israel and the figure of the Servant of YHWH. It is their lawsuit that the Gospel of John sees taking place in the history of Jesus, as the one true God demonstrates his deity in controversy with the claims of the world. He does so by calling Jesus as chief witness and by vindicating him, not only as a true witness but also as incarnate representative of God’s own true deity. The witnessing role of the Servant in Isaiah is played by Jesus in the Gospel, while the accompanying role of the witnesses, God’s people Israel, in Isaiah is taken by Jesus’ followers in the Gospel. Even though the decisive verdict against the world is given in the cross, the trial continues as the followers of Jesus continue to bear witness against the world.

Life on Mission by Dustin Willis and Aaron Coe

LifeOnMission

This review first appeared at Lifeway’s Pastors Today web-blog.

Bibliography

Dustin Willis and Aaron Coe. Life on Mission: Joining the Everyday Mission of God. Chicago: Moody, 2014. 192 pp. $13.99.

Category

Church and Ministry

Summary

The American church is in crisis as the great evangelical recession continues. If you are skeptical of this exaggerated doomsday statement, then you might browse through these two books: The American Church in Crisis (2009) by David Olson and The Great Evangelical Recession (2013) by John Dickerson.

Are these assessments of the evangelical climate accurate? If so, what do we do?

Dustin Willis and Aaron Coe serve in leadership with the North American Mission Board. They’re both experienced church planters, conversant and engaged in the air and on the ground, who know what’s going on in evangelicalism broadly and the Southern Baptist Church specifically.

Together they’ve teamed up to write Life on Mission, a three part book that presents the big picture of domestic missions (chapters 1-4), a way forward through developing hearty gospel foundations (chapters 5-8), which connect to an everyday missional mindset (chapters 9-12).

Benefit for Pastoral Ministry

Regardless of what you think about the present evangelical landscape – though Willis and Coe agree with other assessments and provide persuasive corroborating research – the need for everyday American believers to live on mission in their community is not just urgent but an essential aspect of lovingly and joyfully responding to the Great Commission.

Therefore, Christians need to hear a persuasive argument for the pressing call to live on mission. This is precisely what the authors provide with Life on Mission. Thoughtfully presented statistics (cf. chpt. 1, footnotes 1-8; chpt. 2, pp. 33-35), along with real life testimony of the dilemma in specific ministry contexts (cf. Aaron Coe, p. 21; Dustin Willis, 35; Adam Miller, pp. 35-36), present a compelling case that welcomes our response.

But Life on Mission isn’t just another cultural study of the evangelical predicament. Coe and Willis somehow wed it all together – providing the diagnosis and prescription in a digestible, accessible, and applicable manner – which is something I haven’t seen elsewhere. Hence, this book should not be overlooked.

Life on Mission is this year’s best book-study for equipping small groups to rehearse the gospel and act it out in mission. Life on Mission’s built in study guide – look for the red for reflection, introspection, and review – provides a tool for groups to process. In the appendix small group leaders find a 6-week study guide to assist preparation. The succinct nature of each chapter, most are 5-10 pages, removes any reading barriers for participants.

Life on Mission’s gospel-centered and gospel-applied focus is its distinguishing attribute. The authors kick off Part Two on Gospel Foundations reminding us that the gospel is the proverbial good life. “Living out the gospel mission is not a guilt- or fear-driven task – it is the good life” (59). In fact, it’s the secret to our joy: “We realize the good life as we see Jesus for all He is and follow Him without hesitation” (emphasis mine, 59).

Life on Mission is the trail guide for doing this. As a trail guide, we see the majestic beauty of God, we pick the best route forward, and we anticipate the pitfalls ahead.

In seeing the majestic beauty of God, we encounter God’s holiness and greatness. This is critical because: “As created beings, we are measured and defined by comparison to our Creator” (63). We also discover a practical theology proper on the basics of who God is: supreme, sovereign, and loving; these basics cultivate the groundwork for spiritual maturity (76-79).

We pick the best route forward through the memorable missional process of identify, invest, invite, and increase (Part Three). This part is where the gospel is applied towards the aim of reproducibility. Just as Willis and Coe remark: “The most effective thing you can do for the mission is to reproduce yourself as many times as possible” (141). So, readers think through biblically reaching neighbors, co-workers, and everyday acquaintances with the gospel. Practical advice like looking to the margins (113), identifying prayer needs (114), or the 5-step process of discipleship (145) are threaded throughout this part along with gospel threads – serving as trail markers throughout Part Three – to reinforce that we’re on the trail.

Finally, we anticipate five pitfalls on the missional trail: misplaced priorities, refusing to rest, weight-of-the-world mentality, lone-ranger mentality, and ministry idolatry (Chapter 13). This closing chapter is replete with vulnerability from both authors, which winsomely reminds us that we are not impervious and gently niggles us to recognize into what pit(s) we’ve already fallen.

This closing chapter effectively pressed on tender areas and caused reflection with this reader, leading me to this musing. When it comes to misplaced priorities, is our reaction to sacrificing our family on the altar of mission merely erecting another altar of family (cf. 152-53)? I wonder about this. I have seen this rhetorical motif in many publications during the past decade. How do we manage the tension between family and mission? Are we falsely dichotomizing them and pitting them against one another? How do we submit them both under God’s tutelage?

Though the authors raise the issue of this pitfall, not much treatment is placed on managing the tension, just stark warning to avoid the fall. This is no critique of the book, for this is not the main premise of Life on Mission nor can it command full treatment. This is merely a longing for more exploration on another pressing issue in the Church.

Rating

Essential            Recommended            Helpful            Pass It By

Recommendation

Life on Mission will cause you to raze your kingdom and realign your life for the mission of Christ’s Kingdom.

View-Worthy: 9.29.14

Preview

Muscular Christianity, Underachievers, On Reading the Bible, Careful What You Click For.

Headliner

Greg Forster. Rescuing Warriors from Muscular Christianity. (First Things)

Muscular Christianity is a ridiculous and detestable overreaction to a real failure on the part of too many churches to treat spiritual warfare as seriously as it needs to be treated.

Deal of the Day

Recovering the Real Lost Gospel by Darrell Bock $2.99

Book Review

Andrew M Davis. An Infinite Journey. Reviewed by Andrew Spencer. (Themelios)

Links

Nick Batzig. 5 Truths for “Underachievers”. (Christianity.com)

One of the most important verses in all of Scripture regarding the uncertainty of human success and achievement is Ecclesiastes 9:11. There we read, “the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all.” This verse has become almost the singular source of self-evaluating recalibration for me in life.

Jonathan Parnell. Three Things to Remember When You Read the Bible. (DG)

You can never just read the Bible.

There is something deep happening. It’s something more glorious than the universe. Whether you open these pages before dawn, over midmorning coffee, or at the dinner table with family, whenever you read the Bible something miraculous is happening. After all, you are not just any ordinary person, and the Bible isn’t just any old book.

Rachel Marie Stone. Careful What You Click For. (CT)

When I click on links I know are trashy, or links I know I’m going to disagree with, I’m casting a vote for more of the same. Chances are, you are too.

Edify

Proverbs 16:22 “Good sense is a fountain of life to him who has it, but the instruction of fools is folly.”

“Agnosticism leads inevitably to moral indifference.” Thomas Merton

Are We on the Verge of a Coming Familypocalypse?

My family is important to me; I love my wife and three children dearly. I believe we are better together than apart. This should be the attitude of every father, right? Absolutely! Dads should cherish and enjoy their families. They should long to be with them and feel pain when apart. They also should fight to keep families together through thick and thin.

This conviction should be a shared conviction with all humanity. As humans, we should cherish the idea of family. Otherwise, how would we perpetuate and propagate our race?

Yet, occasionally, I get this unsettled feeling in my soul, as I observe the culture around me, that these are not shared feelings.

The Threat to Families: A Case Study

Last winter, in the heart of the polar vortex, my family felt cabin fever. We didn’t wish to venture far from home, but we knew we wanted to get out of the house. Kendall and I made an executive decision to go to Chipotle, which was practically across the street from our apartment.

At the time, we had only lived in Chicagoland for a few months, so we were still getting used to the culture. Likewise, we’re not Chipotle people. Every time I think of Chipotle, I think about how they were once owned by McDonalds. It’s hard for me to get past that. Besides, I’m from Texas, so I know what a Freebird is, and if I must, I’ll settle for a Qdoba. So, Chipotle falls precariously low on the burrito chain as it is for me.

My wife bundled the kids up, while I brushed the most recent snowfall off the van, and we drove across the street in the negative ten temperature. Upon entering Chipotle the first thing Kendall and I noticed was that we were the only family in the place. There were lots of people there but no children. The five of us shuffled into line. As usual the kids were a little restless and also excited about being out of the home.

I remember glancing around and seeing stares. They weren’t really the annoyed you need to do something with your children stares. They were the frightful I don’t want to be in that situation stares — the kind that remind you that your family is walking birth control for others.

We finally made it up to the burrito bar and started to place our order with the young lady behind the counter. She was your typical Chipotle burrito bar associate, tatted up and pierced like the real deal, original Freebird associate would be; knock offs bother me as you can tell. She was polite and kind to us, but found herself in a bind.

I asked about the children’s menu. There wasn’t one posted in their signage to order from. She let me know that they didn’t have a children’s menu, which just sent me reeling. Kendall and I plotted to figure out how to craft a makeshift kids meal, which ended up just being an adult chicken quesadilla meal split between the three little ones and a couple extra milks.

In itself, I guess not having a kids menu does not make you a non-children friendly business, but it sure doesn’t invite families into your establishment. I paid the cashier and we collected ourselves to find out seat. That’s when I discovered there were no high chairs. So we made due with Adalie sitting in mommy’s lap. It worked well until that point where she grabbed Kendall’s drink in just the wrong way and it tipped, spilling Coke all over the table and floor. Yep, that earned more sympathetic, yet relieved at not having children stares from the non-family patrons.

After dinner Kendall took Adalie to the restroom to change her diaper. She returned rather shortly to tell me there was no changing station. We then scurried home and retreated back into our safe world of family at the apartment.

My Reading of the Cultural Scripts

That story being shared, I wish to unpack what Kendall and I thought walking away from the experience.

First, we love living in the Midwest, and we’ve found Midwesterners to be super friendly. We lived in Tulsa for four years, which is precisely on the border between the South and Midwest, so we really feel like we’re used to the Midwestern mindset: quicker pace, direct, and extremely honest.

So this critique isn’t a critique considering geographical demographics and behavior; it’s a wider cultural critique of everyone’s general feelings towards family these days across every spectrum in American culture. Quite honestly, as a family, we’ve felt this sensation anywhere we’ve been in the last 10 years, accepting maybe the safe cloister of Disney World, where family is the ultimate altar.

As you picked up from my telling of the narrative, it’s not so much that people are antagonistic or annoyed. American culture is not quite anti-family yet, though if I were to put my chips on it, I might be a big winner in two decades that culture will be anti-family. Right now, culture seems merely hesitant towards family.

People are just not excited about jumping into family life. They either like their singleness, dinkness (dual income no kids), or they have that perpetual feeling of unreadiness. It’s likely that they come from broken homes and do not wish to break another.

Regardless, Americans are running away from family life.

Is this just mere speculation? Am I out to lunch as a biased husband and father? Am I just paranoid? What do the statistics actually tell us?

What Statistics Say

Businesses, like Chipotle, are reading the national demographics and are hedging their bets on the fact that they don’t need to tailor to families. There is plenty of family friendly places; Chick-fil-a is my favorite. So, not every business need be family friendly, and I get that; I don’t expect sushi shops to be family friendly. That’s just not their market. But who doesn’t love a good burrito, right?

Anyway, what are these businesses seeing in the national demographics?

In the most recent decennial census brief (2010) on households and families, the brief revealed that the 116.7 million households in America have 2.58 people in them. Of households that are defined as families, the number of people is 3.14. It’s no secret that these numbers have been declining for decades, since the baby boom.

Furthermore, of total number of American households, 7.7 million of them are unmarried partner households, which has grown 41% from 2000, which is four times the growth rate of households in general (10%). This is a staggering statistic. People aren’t getting married, but they are cohabitating.

In addition, for the first time in the history of census data, husband-wife households stooped below 50% of all households. Only, 48% in 2010 are husband-wife households, down from 52% in 2000, and 55% in 1990.

Essentially, family is on a slippery slope of decline; we are seeing the vanishing of families in America.

Not Always a Family Man

Now, I admit I haven’t always been a family man. I liked the idea of getting married in college, but I wasn’t super excited about having children. In fact, before Chloe, my eldest, was born, I had never changed a diaper, fed a bottle to a baby, or pushed a stroller. One time, when Kendall and I were dating, we helped in the nursery at church together. I ate the kiddos animal crackers while Kendall did all the real work.

What changed in me? It actually wasn’t some sort of intuitive longing within my soul to have children. It started with me being confronted with Scripture, repenting, and becoming obedient to the first chapters of Genesis.

In our young married’s group, we read Doug Wilson’s Reforming Marriage. In that reading, I was reminded of my primary functions from the Edenic Covenant; God created man to fill the earth and subdue it.

And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that move on the earth. (Gen. 1:28)

That realization was the tipping point for me. I remember coming home that night and chatting with Kendall. I shared with her the realization that I did want to have children. She, of course, was surprised that I had felt otherwise. It’s not like I ever told her that I was content to just be the husband of Kendall.

God used his Word to change my affections that day. I’m really glad. I can’t imagine my world without Chloe, Asher, and Adalie. I’m thankful that I developed a discontent of only being a husband; my wife is glad too.

From the time Kendall and I married I understood that the two of us were a new family. What I had to embrace was that God wanted to add to that family over the years. Though it seemed to happen overnight through the power of God’s Word, really it has been a slow and steady process of affections being warmed, faculties being trained, and responsibility being owned.

Conclusion

My family braved the snowpocalypse for a dinner that sent my wife and I reeling. We realized that, though the snowpocalypse would end, we as a family were bound to face another: the familypocalypse.

If you’re young, married, and planning to have children, or have a few like we do, just realize that in the coming decades you will feel more and more out of place, lest drastic cultural changes are underway.

Likewise, if you are single or married and hesitant about children, please study Genesis 1, particularly verse twenty-eight. The endeavor might very well alter your perspective.

My hope is that the feeling we all feel is only out of place, rather than threatened.

 

View-Worthy: 9.26.14

Preview

Material Wealth, Journaling, the Greater Gardener, Fitting the Bible into the Margins.

Headliner

Jordan J Ballor. Life to the Full: The Dangers of Material Wealth and Spiritual Poverty.

Last November, James R. Rogers published a short essay titled “What’s Behind the Stunning Decrease in Global Poverty?”. Rogers examined studies from a variety of sources, all of which “confirmed the overall conclusion that the rate of extreme poverty in the world has undergone a stunning decline.” These studies primarily examine figures such as the number of people living on one US dollar per day, a typical measure of “extreme poverty.” But this “mountainous rise in well-being,” in which hundreds of millions of people moved out of extreme poverty over the past thirty years, is attested to by other measures as well.

Deal of the Day

Preaching on Your Feet: Connecting God and The Audience in the Preachable Moment by Fred R Lybrand $2.99

Book Review

Matt Mikalatos. Retelling Gospel Stories. Reviewed by Marc Cortez.

Links

Barnabas Piper. 5 Reasons You Should Journal.

I don’t think everyone needs to journal. But I have a hard time thinking of any legitimate reason why someone wouldn’t. Some might think it’s girly. Some might think it’s time consuming. Some might just hate to write. Well, here are my five best reasons you should take up or, keep up, journaling.

Nick Batzig. Jesus, the True and Greater Gardener. (Christward Collective)

The Scriptures tell us that the Son of God began His sufferings in a Garden and brought them to a close in a Garden. That is an absolutely amazing display of God’s wisdom. After all, Jesus is the second Adam undoing what Adam did and doing what Adam failed to do (Rom. 5:12-21; 1 Cor. 15:47-49). He is the Heavenly Bridegroom, entering into His sufferings in a Garden for the redemption of His bride, the Church. He is the Heavenly Gardener, giving Himself to the cultivation of the souls of His people through His atoning sacrifice and continual intercession. When He hung on the cross, He spoke of Glory under the name of “Paradise”–an evident allusion to the paradise in which our first parents dwelt and the paradise from which they fell. He is the second Adam who, by the shedding of His blood, secured the New Creation. As we consider the double entendres of the fourth Gospel, we come to those specifically concerning the biblical theology of the second Adam in the Garden. Consider the theological significance of the following two Garden settings in which Christ carried out the work of redemption…

Bobby Jamieson. Fitting the Bible into the Margins. (Christianity.com)

I believe every Christian should strive to carve out time dedicated to Scripture reading and prayer every day. But for many of us, devotions aren’t very daily. Some people, like mothers of young children, have excellent reasons for this. Others, like many college students, not so excellent.

If you struggle to fit in a daily quiet time, the open spaces in your schedule can be great places to squeeze in the Bible. Even if you have a robust devotional life, you can still cram the Bible in wherever and however you can. Wedge it into the gaps in your schedule. Stuff it into the in-between places, the nooks and crannies of unclaimed time throughout your day. In other words, fit the Bible into the margins of your life.

Edify

1 Corinthians 10:14 “Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.”

“Whatever is your greatest joy and treasure, that is your God.” C H Spurgeon

10 Quotes from Visit the Sick by Brian Croft

VisittheSickI reviewed this book some time ago at Lifeway’s Pastors Today web-blog, but now I’d like to share some of my favorite insights offered. So here are 10 quotes from this book:

1. “In the resurrection of Jesus, we see confirmation of the promise of our own resurrection and the ultimate defeat of the curse of sin, sickness, and death” (23).

2. “Jesus powerfully teaches that in those moments when the disciples care for their least brother, they are also offering care to the King” (24).

3. “Those who care for the sick must be prepared to have the truth of God’s word on their lips to respond well when faced with difficult circumstances” (31).

4. “When you visit someone, make an effort to speak about God’s righteousness, man’s sinfulness, and Christ’s death on the cross in our place for our sins. I realize that many circumstances can make this difficult to do. But nothing should prevent you from praying the gospel” (34).

5. “God will use us. Even though we can be insensitive, fumble our words, and have glaring weaknesses that can make us painfully ineffective, God is powerful and gracious, and he will use us to fulfill his purposes” (36).

6. “Pastors and paid star must make a special effort to ensure they are visiting the sick out of love and care, not just out of a sense of obligation” (40).

7. “Visiting those who are sick and dying is one of the means God gloriously uses to accomplish this heavenly focus in our lives” (46-47).

8. “We must not be deceived into thinking that our own ability exercised in our own power can produce spiritual fruit, lest we conduct our visits with prideful and self-sufficient hearts” (54).

9. “We cannot expect our people to be faithful in this task if we are not fully engaged and committed” (58).

10. “As important as it is for you to be a model to others, you don’t need to be the only one engaged in this ministry. Seize key opportunities to praise and lift up laypeople in your church who faithfully care for the afflicted and dying” (58-59).

View-Worthy: 9.25.14

Preview

Blogs Gone Cold, Family Life, College Girls, Pearls and Pigs.

Headliner

Tim Challies. Blogs Gone Cold.

Last month I posted a list of recommended blogs by and for Christian women. At the end of the post I made a parenthetical remark that many of the blogs I follow had gone cold in recent months. A short time later I received an email from three women who blog: Hannah Anderson, Courtney Reissig, and Megan Hill. They asked if they could speak to the issue, and I was glad to have them do so. Here are their thoughts on blogs gone cold.

Conservative female bloggers tend to publish less consistently than their male counterparts. Three women writers explore the reasons why.

Deal of the Day

Facing Leviathan: Leadership, Influence, and Creating in a Cultural Storm by Mark Sayers $4.99

Book Review

Daniel Montgomery and Timothy Paul Jones. Proof. Reviewed by David Steele.

Links

Gloria Furman. Family Life and the Kingdom of God. (The Gospel Project)

The families in these stories seem so far away from our own experience, but really, this is our family history, too. Like the fathers and mothers of Israel who were so eager to affirm their loyalty to the King, we desperately need God’s grace in order to live rightly under his rule. Like the children who lived in the days of the judges, we are tempted to live according to what seems right in our own eyes. Like Naomi who couldn’t see what the hand of the Lord was doing to her family, we all need help remembering that God’s hand is mighty to save.

Hannah Anderson. College Girls: Education, Imago Dei, and the Gospel.

We educate girls and women for the same reason we educate boys and men. We educate our daughters because they are made in God’s image. Full. Stop.

This doesn’t mean that everyone should go to college or that all education happens in a classroom. It also doesn’t mean that we don’t weigh the cost of a college education against the practical usefulness of it. And it certainly doesn’t mean that any of us (male or female) can elevate getting a certain degree to the detriment of our closest relationships. What it does mean is that the choice to educate a child is not a gender-based decision because both men and women bear the image of a God of knowledge.

But there’s a bigger problem…

Lore Ferguson. Pearls and Pigs and Guys and Girls.

After asking the questions (for research), “Can guys and girls be friends?” and then “Is it ever appropriate for the girl to initiate a date (or relationship)?” on social media, I wasn’t surprised at the barrage of opinions. We had PhDs discussing ancient Near-Eastern culture, husbands saying, “If my wife hadn’t initiated, we wouldn’t be married,” and wives saying, “We were friends for three years before I asked him to clarify—now we’re married.”

I’m going to save my main argument for later (so suspicious, I know), but in the meantime, I wanted to share this page from The Meaning of Marriage, by Tim and Kathy Keller. And also say this…

Edify

Isaiah 26:8 “In the path of your judgments, O Lord, we wait for you; your name and remembrance are the desire of our soul.”

“The nearer to heaven in hopes, the farther from earth in desires.” William Gurnall

Five Books on the Old Testament and Its Context

Finding the best books to read on a subject of theology can be a challenge. This series provides suggested resources for topics of Theology. Each title is linked to Amazon, if available. If you have another title to suggest for this area of study, please comment. I’m always happy to add another work to my library.

Here are 5 books that will launch you into studies on an introduction to biblical exegesis.

1. Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament: Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible by John Walton

2. A History of the Ancient Near East ca. 3000 – 323 BC, 2nd Edition by Marc Van De Mieroop

3. The Ancient Near East: An Anthology of Texts and Pictures editor James B Pritchard

4. On the Reliability of the Old Testament by Ken Kitchen

5. Cracking Old Testament Codes: A Guide to Interpreting Literary Genres of the Old Testament editor Brent Sandy